Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Word monsters

As I´m currently writing an essay on the occurences of puns and word-playing in dreams, I´ve illustrated two examples from my own dream experiences. Both examples, that were seen as well as heard, were dreamed as pictures that I feel were derived from verbal puns or word-play.


This image and its title came to me in a dream after having read a good book titled The Methodology. Around the "Frankensteinway" at the bottom at left I have also drawn the components of this invention, which read as a chain of associations around replicating processes: a Steinway piano, Frankenstein´s monster, a Komodo dragon (recently known for being able to reproduce parthenogenetically) and the greek Parthenon temple.

The word Frankensteinway is an example of what Max Ernst called a "phallustrade", which, according to the surrealist dictionary is defined as "an alchemical product, composed of the following elements: autostrade, balustrade and a certain quantity of phallus. A phallustrade is a verbal collage."


This image and its title is a pun trying to invert "nuclear family" by opposition; the earth or mud that stains the laundry seem to allude both to a geological crust and to the gritty crust-punk lifestyle (crust is perhaps an onomatopoetical name for how this style of punk music sounds, but the name could in turn also have been chosen as a pun by opposition on the hardcore influence upon the genre.)

The commentary section below is the right place to gather more examples of word-playing and verbal or visual puns in dreams.

/ NN

Friday, July 1, 2011

Heating and defense of dream city

"The big house" is in a rundown industrial area near the water, Norrköping or London. Above all, it has a magnificent ceiling height. The building didn't cost much, but heating costs are tremendous.

Olof's sister is a beautiful and wise Iranian of zoroastric heritage. She knows that one's DNA can be stored in a bucket of raspberry juice. When the day finally comes, there will emerge a homunculus. He will take care of our interests.

It will all work fine even when we are under attack, because the gutter system of the city is fully functional. If the sewerage is inverted it could be lead out through the gutters, creating an effective barrier of dirt, a moat.

And even though the social habits in "the big house" is a bit stiff at the moment, people are rather overdressed, and it all feels like an official birthday reception a summer afternoon in a rented mansion, or like a visit to the Thiel gallery, still there will take shape something meaningful from here.


(When I told Christofer D about "the big house", he immediately recognised it as "Värmekyrkan" - a huge old heating boiler station in the industrial area in Norrköping which has served as a venue for cultural events. I have never been there awake and can't remember having heard of it before.)

Monday, June 27, 2011

New York er eyja í Atlantshafi

The plot is set. Years after my father’s death his top secret research project coincidentally is being revealed; and the intrigue evolves in a familiar thriller fashion:

In our family’s summer house a hidden door has been found. After making the decision that it should be opened, it leads us down to an unknown basement where we make the discovery of a clandestine archive, full of dust and documents. The research material maps out the mysterious circumstances of the disappearance of a number of important persons. Now, unexpected facts come to our knowledge and formerly unknown connections of historical events emerge. As we study the material, including some shimmery, blurry images of old video tape recordings from the seventies, on which different, obviously nervous (and perhaps frightened) people appear, talking about strange matters, we slowly become aware of the proportions and the magnitude of our discovery, which leads us to the conclusion that—yet to hesitate—we must travel to New York.

Stanislaw Lem's Futurologial congress as percieved while being riddled by a nightmare

New York. A gigantic cosmopolis, even bigger than what the latest records show (apparently not quite up to date); it has failed to seize growing throughout the years, indomitable and heedless, in spite of governmental restriction programs, continuously striving upwards in celestial vain. Within this urban dream shape we experience an overlapping city landscape with ground floors reaching higher grounds and street levels interconnecting through exquisitely engineered pipe-tunnel roads enclosed with chrome and glass, spiraling their way through the sky. We stay in a luxurious hotel, thousand stories high, surrounded by equally high buildings. Our hotel room, at first glance, has a modest design—less furniture than space, more room, less gloom—yet exclusively ultra modern futuristic; the room shifts in colour, blending perfectly: from white to beige to grey, with a slight resemblance of mosstone. The shape of the room, not easily to define, could be described as a trapezoid semi-superellips and has an entire wall section consisting of a large window glass, and thin white draperies. The room goes with an Italian balcony; un letto matrimoniale, a royal wedding bed; and an original Steinway, white and shiny. Built into the walls is an intricate system of small rippling rills of water flowing through lightly lit panels of frosty glass. A surround speaker system is part of the interior architecture as well: down from the beautiful cupola roof different sound environments and atmospherics are spreading out and filling up the entire room, mood by listener’s choice: Scottish highland, German forest, African savanna, Mediterranean coast, Catalan monastery, Swedish midsummer, misty moor with dancing fairies, deep ocean life on Mars … We fill our glasses with champagne and drink a toast to the bride and groom. The wedding cake is made of love, hope, cream and strawberries.

Out in to the Jungle. Since we are newly married and hypersensitive, we are overwhelmed with the enormous traffic intensity; but what strikes us even more is the fact that the air is clean and that we can joyfully breathe. We fill our lungs and blank our minds—from that moment on our mission is forgotten. At first relieved, but then suddenly troubled again, it seems that what now is at stake is our marriage. However, that is a worry we chose to ignore. Futuristic figures of all sorts pass by, among ordinary 21th century people, as we stand there on the sidewalk, in sunshine and gazing amazement. The street, so it appears, is a reconstruction of S:t Eriksgatan in Stockholm. Not knowing what the next step should be, we decide not to make up any plans but to submit to the spur of the moment, and so it happens: we found ourselves involved in the rather dodgy act of following a queer-looking gentleman wearing white clown makeup, a red and yellow-striped sweater and purple trousers with blue suspenders, who is riding a 16 feet high unicycle northwards … in the direction of Brooklyn! Soon we are confused; the lack of bridges and water is what puzzles us, while the biking clown disappears around the corner of a fashionable and impressive brick stone building. As we compare reality with our own map, we come to the conclusion that we are no longer on an island in the Hudson river, called Manhattan as we presumed, but that this future version of New York city actually consists of a conglomerate of islands, a pseudo-continent, like a reversed minor Pangea. As a matter of fact, large parts of the North American east coast has been torn off from the mainland, melting together with other parts and nearby islands and then been drifting away, out to the sea. All of a sudden I remember the first line that I learned in Icelandic: “Ísland er eyja í Atlantshafi”—“Iceland is an island in the Atlantic”.

At this point there is a shift of perspective: high from above, while the sun is setting, we look down on our dream named New York, where it lies like a tiny dark spot in the grand shiny ocean. One long, single railway bridge leads out over the water, away from the black island/continent.


Paul in Paris (syrup and carbuncles), 1978

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Wandering Jewess

There is a red double-decker London night-bus called the Wandering Jewess. Tickets are free but you're only allowed on board if you have Jewish ancestry. I get on. It goes out into the countryside, among big arable fields. It makes brief regular stops, but no one gets on or off. At one stop my travelling companion and I get off to inspect the wildflowers by the side of the road, along the edge of a huge flat field. The bus starts to move off and we have to jump back on quickly before it pulls away.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The joy of not knowing where

(Pater Noster Square)

I have an appointment in a part of Stockholm which I don't know. I find it very exciting, in an ambiguous way, that there is a part of town which I don't know. I am taking a particular bus, from a terminal I know, and will go only one stop, yet end up somewhere completely unknown to me. The terminal appears to be Jarlaplan (a bus terminal in northeastern part of inner Stockholm which was abandoned and destroyed in the 70s) and thus the unknown part of town must be in the eastern parts (the quiet and upperclass parts).

During the short busride I am flirting with an ugly yet very attractive woman who is leading a crowd of little old ladies with walking difficulties.

My appointment is at Fadervårtorget (Pater Noster Square). Fascinated by the existence of this unknown square I walk back and forth, pondering the environments, wondering which one of the strange pedestrians who might be the person I am supposed to meet. Most people seem to be small women in raincoats. Like a happy child I enjoy my disorientation; since I haven't seen a map, and the sky is overcast, and there are no natural landforms, I can't even tell which direction is which! At the neighboring streets there are all kinds of small stores and some big restaurants or bars, particularly fish restaurants.

Half-awake, I start hypnagogically rationalising this remarkable dream. I'm trying to stick to the subject matter, but it seems elusive as I have to edit two volumes of Kafka stories, with all the emotional strain it involves to empathise with them in order to reconstruct their inner sequence. But Kafka always lived and wrote his stories in this tiny apartment in Helsinki, in an old building which is now accessible in the exotic eastern parts of Stockholm. I'm trying to write my signature on some applications, but all I can produce is Kafka's.

It seems like I have several times hypothethised unknown parts of Stockholm and usually in the eastern parts. I get an image of explaining the Fadervårtorget to other people, claiming that it is one of the many swiss-cheese-holes in the otherwise socially homogenous eastern parts, this one specifically being a square around which the specifically degenerate branches of the upperclass families accumulated, those branches who were declassed, badly alcoholised or just perpetually sidestepped, who all turned small-shop-owners, bike-repairers, day-laborers or public square winos; still refusing to live in any other parts than their traditional eastern ones. And then recently, there had been some preliminary attempts to gentrify this exotic piece of land, hence the big bars-restaurants.

Later fully awake, I seem to remember that whenever I postulate unknown parts of Stockholm they are always in Östermalm, the eastern parts. Indeed the quietness and often ghost-town-feeling of these parts as well as the alienation before its very distinct class character might be a good breeding ground for such ideas. In the few dreams I vaguely remember about this, there is always some larger north-south-street which marks the sharp boundary between the common central Stockholm and the Östermalm wilderness. Sometimes this border has been Birger Jarlsgatan (fits with this dream, since this streets starts at Jarlaplan where the old bus terminal was) and the unknown east is then often like a chaotic big city with old buildings, similar to parts of Paris perhaps. Sometimes it has been further west and has been Sveavägen. I remember standing at Sveaplan looking south, and the Vanadislunden hill to the left has been a "hic sunt leones" wilderness, where I have dared venture only briefly; it has always been abandoned, dry and overgrown.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Nautical miles

My friend N and I have been visiting London. He's heading back to Finland, I'm on my way to Stockholm but, because of the ferry routes, have to change ferries in Mariehamn. Bit of a daft detour, as Stockholm is closer to London than to the Åland Islands.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

The landscape of our dreams

The cormorant council proudly announces that many of its early speculations on the theoretical foundations for its activity are now available – some for the first time in English, some for the first time openly – in a pdf anthology, which is one of the many suddenly offered to the reading public at merdarius's pdf library "Bibliotheca onthoplanctorum" at the Stockholm surrealist group site.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The continent forgotten

Another version of not reaching Africa: I actually settled down in a house in Mali – but, apart from that general fact, I can't remember a thing!
… if you manage to trespass the southern border of (Scandinavian) imagination, the memories will be confiscated?